Cookie Law Crumbles

Posted by CJD on February 6, 2013

The European law on Cookies was almost still born but eventually made it out into the UK in 2012 to howls of protest from pretty much everybody interested in internet technologies.

It was said to be ill informed, clumsy, unnecessary and unworkable. One legal website declared it to be “Breathtakingly stupid.” And who am I to disagree.

Overnight almost every UK website became illegal.

Of course, there was a good intent behind the new laws concerning privacy – but this law was not the answer.

However, this week, the UK body responsible for the law in the UK – the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – has changed its own policy on how cookies can be used on their site essentially offering new guidance.

Originally a visitor had to actively give consent to the ICO for it to place a cookie on their computer – apparently 90% didn’t. Now they tell us that consent can be implied – ie if you don’t object, you get the cookie.

The ICO and everyone else’s problem was that for almost anything to work on the internet, websites need cookies – anybody selling anything must use them and having 90% refuse, kills it stone dead.

So anyone that really mattered on the internet completely ignored the law – Facebook, Google and Amazon. And many others found ways to make it less devastating to their businesses.

For those interested, Sikltide has a nicely caustic summary of the history of this ill considered attempt to do something right:

Our own policy can be found here:

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